Sunday, May 19, 2024

Presentation Tralee net All-Ireland Schools basketball title after close win over Loreto Bray

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Pres Tralee head coach, Ashlea Sheehy: ‘Loreto could have easily taken it in the end, but it just so happens that it’s coming to Kerry and they’re a fantastic bunch of girls’

Presentation Tralee 41

Loreto Bray 37

At the fourth attempt, an All-Ireland Schools Basketball League title found its way to Tralee following Presentation Tralee’s hard won four-point victory over Loreto Bray on the last of three days of national finals in Tallaght.

After Mercy Mounthawk were disappointingly beaten in three Under-19 finals on Tuesday, there was no denying the Presentation’s Under-16 girls in their B final against the Wicklow school. However, the Kerry side had to survive a severe challenge from Loreto Bray to clinch the All-Ireland Under-16 B League title following their 41-37 victory in an enthralling clash in the National Basketball Arena.

Tralee broke from the blocks first in the decider, as Chloe O’Brien put them four points up before Summer Ivory got Loreto off the mark.

The game’s MVP Chloe O’Sullivan, along with Anna O’Sullivan, weighed in on a six-point run that helped see the Kerry side lead by seven at the end of the first quarter.

Loreto kept themselves in touch thanks to buckets by Leia Hendricks Carol and captain, Kate Grist, with further scores from Zoe Byrne and Emily Staunton helping them reduce their arrears to three by the half-time break.

Less than three minutes into the third quarter, the Bray side had closed the gap at 26 points apiece, Ivory and Beth Logan supplying the scores, before O’Sullivan netted a couple of baskets to re-establish a two-point gap in favour of Tralee heading into the fourth.

It set the stage for a nail-biting finale, which grew even more intense when Grist restored parity after she worked her way in for a score.

But Tralee put together a run just when they needed it, Anna O’Sullivan going to the line for two before Anna Chute and Chloe O’Sullivan drained shots from the perimeter to propel their side six points in front.

Hendricks Carol ensured Loreto remained well in the hunt over the closing couple of minutes, but they still had a four-point gap to close after Chloe O’Brien and Jamie Lee O’Connor put up late scores for Tralee.

Bray pressed relentlessly in the closing seconds, Tralee held firm to clinch the coveted prize.

“We saw Loreto Bray’s semi-final and we knew they’d never let up, so all day we’ve been saying that we can’t let up ourselves, we’ve got to keep going,” Presentation Tralee head coach, Ashlea Sheehy said.

“It was a very good game and Loreto could have easily taken it in the end, but it just so happens that it’s coming to Kerry and they’re a fantastic bunch of girls. Their clubs have worked so hard with them and we reap the rewards.”

Top scorers

Presentation Tralee: Chloe O’Sullivan (15), Anna O’Sullivan (9), Anna Chute (7)

Loreto Bray: Leia Henricks Carol (13), Kate Grist (7), Summer Ivory (6)

Presentation Tralee: Evelyn Moriarty, Chloe O’Brien, Anna Chute, Blessing Ilunga, Jamie Lee O’Connor, Ivayla Dimitrova, Keelin Reidy, Anna O’Sullivan, Ellie O’Rahilly, Chloe O’Sullivan, Riona McMorrow Moriarty, Layla Mitchell.

Head Coach: Ashlea Sheehy

MVP: Chloe O’Sullivan (Presentation Tralee)

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